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5 minutes with Jess ...

- Tell us a little about you

My husband Asher and I just moved to Vancouver, Canada from Sydney, Australia, so I could study at Regent College – a graduate school of theology. My previous training meant I worked in a high school teaching Food Technology, Textiles and Design and Christian Studies. I have always loved making things so I have been really enjoying learning about God’s deep concern for the created things He has made.

- What's your favourite bible passage & why?

Hmm. It is kind of tricky to narrow it down to just one. Perhaps I am caught somewhere between the grandeur of Isaiah and the tenderness of John’s epistles. Isaiah ‘gets’ it, he sees the Lord in His temple (6:1-8) and is both undone and drawn in. With the song of the seraphim in his ears, Isaiah recognises his need for God’s gracious provision for His brokenness. Restored, his first inclination is to say ‘send me’, he wants ‘to go’ for the Lord, to be part of God’s big purposes. Isaiah goes on to share with us familiar promises; "Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress … The people walking in darkness have seen a great light … ” (9:1-2a). He reminds us that “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (40: 28-29).

Most of all, I love the way that Isaiah’s promises and prophesies come true in Jesus. Sometimes I really need to hear the angel’s call; “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). And oh, what good news it is! John calls us to “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). Indeed as his beloved, we can “know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16), learning to love “because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). I love the way these verses redirect my gaze, away from myself, to the One who invites me into freedom and life, the way of love, not fear.

- How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?

Practically, by trying to stick to patterns of life and patterns of thought that are helpful. Asher and I are committed to belonging to a local church where we can be involved. I try to spend time regularly reading my bible, or another book that will help me focus on Who He is and how I can live following after Him. I try to pray regularly, for my family, my friends, about things happening in my life. I often use written prayers to get me started, I have been using the Morning and Evening Prayers of the Northumbrian Community on and off for a few years now. I try to write down things I am grateful to God for at the end of the day too. I think that routines help me to stay on track but sometimes I let them slide and then have to establish them all over again. I am so glad that He holds me when I get out of rhythm and it all falls apart at my end! I find it helpful to be around Christian friends and family who can speak wise and godly words into my life. I have also found that teaching and preparing to share my understanding of God’s Story with others means that I understand it better and get more excited about it myself!

- What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?

That He loves us, each of us. Creation (us included!) was His idea and His joy. He knows intimately, cares for and loves what He has made. He is deeply committed to its restoration and redemption. Also that His kingdom is as wide and deep as His grace. His kingdom is not about me or you, but oh, we are both so welcome and so wanted.

- What's one thing that you love about your local church?

Having just moved to Vancouver our church is pretty new to us still but I really love its diversity and the way people have been intentionally welcoming of us. My husband is the new music coordinator so maybe I should also say that I’m really enjoying the music J

- What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?

That I don’t need to be afraid (even though it can be my ‘go to’ position!) or control everything because He is God (not me) and He is good. His grace really is sufficient and His ways really are better than mine. Really. In reality, I think I’m still learning both those things!

- What are you passionate about?

  • Textiles and Food. We eat food and use textile items everyday, these areas touch on so many aspects of peoples’ lives both practically, socially and emotionally. I want to be part of more conversations about how we can be using both to bring great blessing.

  • The way the Old Testament enriches our understanding of the New Testament, in fact, I really love looking at the whole Story of the Bible and trying to figure out what it means to live out of that Story here and now.

  • The way that beauty graces our lives with joy and delight, lifting us up and out of ourselves, raising our vision to the Giver of good gifts.

  • Making beautiful things.

  • My family. My gorgeous husband, wonderful parents (and parents-in-law) and super awesome brothers (and sister-in-law).

- What do you enjoy doing when you rest?

I feel like I might have just answered this question in the point before! I love being somewhere beautiful (right now, that means a forest of Fall colours or the seawall bike path towards Stanley Park in Vancouver) with the people I love. I also love making things and sharing them with those same people!

Jess has moved from Sydney to Vancouver to study at Regent Bible College. She gets excited about sharing all things good, true and beautiful - especially as they pertain to textiles, food and the God who made them. She blogs on Fullness

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